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Dow Chemical to restore natural resources in three Michigan counties, pay fine

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | November 8, 2019
Under a proposed settlement announced by the United States, the State of Michigan and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, The Dow Chemical Company will implement and fund an estimated $77 million in natural resource restoration projects intended to compensate the public for injuries to natural resources caused by the release of hazardous substances from Dow’s Midland, Michigan facility.
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The proposed settlement, which was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, is subject to public comment and to approval by the court.

Topics: Dow Chemical fine

According to a complaint filed on behalf of federal, state and tribal natural resource trustees, Dow released dioxin-related compounds and other hazardous substances from its Midland, Michigan, facility, and such releases caused injuries to natural resources.

The complaint alleges that hazardous substances from Dow’s facility adversely affected fish, invertebrates, birds and mammals, contributed to the adoption of health advisories to limit consumption of certain wild game and fish, and resulted in soil contact advisories in certain areas including some public parks.

The settlement identifies a number of specific natural resource restoration projects that will be implemented in different parts of Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties, consistent with provisions of a natural resource restoration plan developed by designated natural resource trustees, including the Department of the Interior’s U.S.

Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs; the State of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), and Department of Attorney General; and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan.

Dow will implement eight natural resource restoration projects described in the settlement at the company’s expense, subject to oversight and approval by the natural resource trustees.

In addition, Dow will pay $6.75 million, plus interest, to a Restoration Account that will used by Trustees to fund five other restoration projects described in the settlement.

The settlement also requires Dow to pay another $15 million, plus interest that will be used by the Trustees for various purposes.

At least $5 million of this funding will be used to support implementation of additional natural resource restoration projects that will be selected by the trustees in the future, after a separate opportunity for public input on restoration project proposals.

This funding will also be used to cover costs of long-term monitoring and maintenance of restoration projects under the settlement, as well as costs that the Trustees will incur in overseeing restoration projects.

Finally, Dow is required to reimburse costs previously incurred by federal and state trustees in connection with the assessment of natural resource damages relating to Dow’s releases.